Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Documentary: Behind Taliban Lines

New documentary from PBS Frontline "Behind Taliban Lines" shows the challenges faced by the U.S. in Afghanistan. Najibullah Quraishi, an Afghan journalist, was able to infiltrate the Taliban and get a glimpse of life in Afghanistan in areas outside of the control of U.S. troops. The U.S. is losing the battle for hearts in minds in some parts of the Country, although the West has tribal support in others... but in many areas not physically held by U.S. troops & where the Taliban has found shelter, such as in Southern Afghanistan, the U.S. faces an almost impossible situation.

There is a reason why they call Karzi the Mayor of Kabul... because that is the only place where the Afghan government has effective control. The central leadership is poor due to corruption, tribalism, the lack of resources, and the ongoing insurgency. Outside of the Capital, the federal governments presence is spotty. Even in areas where the Karzi government has a presence... officials have been either compromised, corrupted or killed.

Luckily the U.S. is now on the offensive... but the hearts and minds battle is still a problem. The film raises questions about Afghanistan's future and its ability to stand on its own. It would probably require a strong NATO commitment of 5-7 more years (minimum), and billions more in American tax dollars. With all the other challenges faced by the U.S., I don't know if this kind of commitment is sustainable.

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